With pet ownership in Australia at an all-time high, pet burials are increasing too. However, pet cremation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to memorialise and inter much-loved pets.
With the potential for the industry to grow and grow, we take a look at some simple questions that you, as a nation of pet owners, should keep in mind.
Most importantly, and practically, what is the average cost of pet cremation today, and if we’re trusting crematoriums to support us, just how big is the industry, and how reliable is it for us when we need them?
How many pets pass away in Australia each year?
It’s impossible to put a firm figure on the number of pet deaths in Australia each year, so defining cremation of burial statistics is equally problematic.
Australia is currently home to 28.7 million pets, living in 6.9 million homes.
In this article, while we can’t put definite figures on pet burial or cremation, we will use Invocare as an example to demonstrate the cost and potential scale of the pet cremation industry in comparison to burial figures.
Invocare’s Pet Cremation Statistics
Before we look at the wider picture, Invocare, Australia’s largest Pet Cremation company, provides in-depth figures relating to the cost and number of pet cremations in 2022. The figures are not reflective of the entire industry but do share similarities with other providers.
However, Invocare now owns 17 cemeteries and crematoria, as well as having over 290 funeral locations across the country, and is rapidly becoming a default provider.
In 2022, their sales statistics were as follows:
- Invocare sold 100,000 pet cremations in 2022.
The majority were for cats and dogs, but horses, small mammals and even fish were cremated by Invocare.
- The average cost of pet cremation was $300.
Invocare sells other products, including memorials and urns, but these are also provided by vets and by owners directly. These services cost $1200, while cremation alone costs $300 (potentially $1500 per pet owner).
Overview: Pet Cremation and Burial Statistics in Australia
How many pets die each year in Australia?
In terms of household pets, there are no existing statistics for mortality rates in pets (whether by natural causes, or euthanasia). This is partly because pet burials are often informal, carried out in backyards, but also because pet mortality is not recorded by state governments.
The legal status of different pets varies from state to state too, so while it may be possible to find the mortality rate of dogs or cats, it would be impossible to give a reliable figure for the mortality rate of birds, fish or small mammals.
When it comes to lost, abandoned or feral pets, the figures are easier to come by:
According to the RSPCA, almost 250,000 stray, feral, or lost pets are euthanised each year by councils and warden services in Australia, with some councils reporting a 98% euthanasia rate for healthy cats due to a lack of homes.
How many pets are buried vs cremated in Australia each year?
In 2023, one estimate suggested that pet burials were just 5%, with 95% of us electing to cremate deceased pets before burying them or memorialising them.
The estimate relates to backyard burials, rather than pet interments at cemeteries or crematoriums, but the estimated figures are likely reflective of larger pets like cats and dogs.
How many pet cemeteries are in Australia?
There are dozens of pet cemeteries in Australia. Each offers slightly different services, from the historic Corrigin Dog Cemetery, which is currently looking to expand in order to provide more space for an increase in demand, to the gorgeous Woodland Pet Cemetery in Coramba, NSW, who offer simpler burials.
Some of the pet cemeteries offer cremation services, and several are linked to traditional cemeteries. Smaller cemeteries and crematoriums for humans often have corners for pets’ ashes too.
Wrapping Up Most Up-to-Date Australian Pet Burial and Cremation Stats
Australia’s rates of pet ownership are through the roof compared to most other countries, so we can definitely claim to be a country that understands our furry companions, as well as the need to grieve for them properly. But, somehow, the formal measurements of that loss are never really counted.
While it might be impossible to put a meaningful number on pet loss in Australia, it will be in the millions per year. If you’ve recently lost your companion, you’re not alone. There are groups to reach out to, and plenty of advice to help you through this time.